SAVANNAH — The future began Saturday for more than 400 Richmond Hill High School students who marched across the stage at the Savannah Civic Center to receive their high-school diplomas.
After more than four years of high school, a new journey awaits them as they cross the threshold into adulthood, more than one speaker told them.
The commencement exercise began with the students’ processional into the center to the accompaniment of “Pomp and Circumstance,” played by the school band. Senior-class secretary Amanda Henman led the students and visitors in an emotional Pledge of Allegiance before senior-class Vice President Shirley Senefeld welcomed the students and their families to the commencement exercise.
“We’re looking sharp. We survived high school. All four years with long-winded teachers. We survived and came out on top. Thank you, teachers, on behalf of the Class of 2015,” Senefeld said, to the muffled agreement of the students. “We will be saying goodbye to each other and our teachers.”
Salutatorian Maximilian Makhinson echoed those thoughts.
“It is strange to thank people (teachers) who have caused us stress. But the teachers cared. They imparted their wisdom. … Let’s applaud everything the teachers have given us. We’ve grown over the past four years. We’ve felt either overwhelming excitement or crushing defeat. We learned from the mistakes we made. I salute you, Class of 2015,” he said after thanking his parents for their ongoing support.
Valedictorian Prabhjot Minhas told the graduates that their best years are yet to come.
“Be fearless to the greatest extent possible. We survived stress and heartbreak. Fight your fears to the best of your ability. When the time comes, may your hats fly as high as your dreams,” she said
Then came the time the class had been waiting for. As the students crossed the stage and received congratulations from Bryan County Board of Education President Eddie Warren, RHHS Principal Debi McNeal and Bryan County Schools Superintendent Paul T. Brooksher, they left their high-school diplomas and the future at their feet to the cheers of their fellow students and families.
In the final comments before the high-school senior chorus sang the alma mater, senior-class President Mosha Patel thanked the teachers for inspiring her and other students to do their best.
“Press forward. I’m excited to see where life will take us. Love yourself because you’ve made it this far,” the class president said.
Then the commencement exercise was over as the graduates talked with their families and mingled outside. And then they were off to make their marks on the world.